Ford Thunderbird donated to Penn College's automotive restoration major

November 21, 2018

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — A 1956 Ford Thunderbird convertible has been given to Pennsylvania College of Technology by a Monroe County man who owned it for nearly 50 years.

Paul Hoffman, of Saylorsburg, donated the vintage vehicle — in its original Peacock Blue — for use by automotive restoration technology students.

“This particular Thunderbird will prove valuable, not only to the lab portions of the automotive restoration program,” instructor Roy H. Klinger said. “It will be a great asset to the automotive history and research courses, as well.” It also represents the only 1950s vehicle in a program that strives to cover vehicles from every era, from the turn of the century to the late ’70s, he noted.

Ford Thunderbird Penn College

Students and instructor Roy H. Klinger, second from left at rear, surround the Thunderbird in Penn College’s automotive restoration lab.

IMAGE: Pennsylvania College of Technology

“The evolution of the automatic transmission is able to be visually explained, allowing our students to understand the fundamentals of the automobile we know today,” Klinger added.

The vehicle’s specifications include a unique 12-volt electrical system, a 312-cubic-inch V8 engine, a continental kit (an externally mounted spare tire, just behind the trunk), adjustable steering wheel, town and country radio, and a hard top as well as a soft top.

“The car has provided me many fond memories,” said Hoffman, who purchased the car in 1968. “I am happy to know that its legacy will be extended, perhaps another 50 years, while also serving as a training platform for the next generation of automotive restorers.”

For more about automotive, collision repair and restoration majors in Penn College’s School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies, visit or call 570-327-4516. For information about the college, a national leader in applied technology education, visit, email or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Last Updated November 21, 2018